Consistent Inconsistency - The Nifty Story
“-Skadoodle +Nifty!!” I hear you scream endlessly. Twitter, Reddit, HLTV - they’ve all had the same overzealous American fans who say Nifty ‘deserves’ a better team. The truth is - there’s a reason he joined Renegades and still resides there, whilst Skadoodle can’t be displaced on Cloud9, it seems. In fact, I’ve had a lot of stick on Twitter for daring to suggest Josh ‘jdm’ Marzano might be better than Nifty with the awp.
Thanks to HLTV for the stats.
Realistically, there’s very little in it as you can see - but the fact that it’s so close (with jdm having more AWP kills) shows that the fact that one is seen as a bit of a relic and not good enough - while the other is seen as a brilliant up-and-coming star - is a little unfair.
While Team Liquid have shown the world that you don’t need a star AWPer to be a good team, they’re very much the exception to the rule. In the best teams in the world, the AWPer is the main star. GuardiaN has been FaZe’s star for a while now; Device is universally commended as the best player in Astralis; Oskar and chrisj’s double AWP is the top talking point for Mousesports; and NaVi? They have the best player in the world maining their sniper roles.
It’s this that really makes Nifty look underwhelming. Where the AWP is so pivotal to a team, you need that AWP to ring true consistently - and Nifty is anything but consistent. Take the famous ‘Nifty 50’ for example - yes, he dropped 50 in that map, but was pretty lifeless on the other two maps as Mousesports took it 2-1. Also, even within that game he was inconsistent. Famously, he went 43-5 in rounds Renegades won - meaning he only got 7 kills in rounds they lost. Given it went into triple OT, that shows a pretty glaring weakness.
Nifty seemed to put himself into positions where he had to put in massive work just to win rounds - when he didn’t get kills, they lost, when he did, they won. That’s ok if you’re a consistent star, but Nifty should know his own weaknesses. As an IGL, that’s pretty damn important. One might argue he doesn’t have the players to allow him to do that - and that’s a fair argument - but we have no idea if he would be humble and take up the second AWP role on a team like C9, and it’s not like his numbers were amazing when he wasn’t IGL at other times in his career.
In fact, even at the event in which Nifty dropped 50 in one map, he ended up going -5 over the tournament. He’s inconsistent from round to round; inconsistent from map to map; but seems to be consistently underwhelming. He’s struggled to go positive at tier one events - yes, he’s gone +41 in qualifiers for ESL One Cologne, but hasn’t had a rating of 1.1 since IEM Katowice. His reputation belies the numbers; yes, numbers aren’t everything, but they also don’t lie, and when you’re playing with that massive gun, you have to put up massive numbers sometimes.
Chrisj - similarly, a sniper who took up igl roles - understands how hard it is to lead and be the main AWPer, which is partially why he takes the secondary AWP (also, having an elite sniper on your team helps that somewhat). Nifty would likely be better suited to a secondary AWP. That’s not a dig at him; but it is a reason why I don’t think he’d be a great primary AWPer for a top American side.
Let’s move on to the IGLing side of things. Nifty isn’t a very good IGL. Renegades have shown little to no progression from before he was there, and even with NAF dropping huge numbers, they failed to make the step to a major. One issue I know some Renegades fans (looking at you, @Dadecum) consistently bring up is the fact that the Aussie team often lose on their anti-ecos, so I wanted to look at those anti-ecos with a video.
Realistically, Nifty’s IGLing and AWPing prowess has got Renegades nowhere, so it’s hard to make a case that he’s NA’s next best AWPer. In fact, he’d probably be the third best AWPer on C9 if he replaced Skadoodle, with Tarik and Autimatic’s skill on the weapon. That might actually suit him more, however, as he would be allowed to be a bit less predictable - he’s a half-decent rifler and it would mean C9 could rotate the sniper a little bit more.
RNG’s results have been lacklustre even with NAF, even with jks and AZR, even with jkaem going wild - one thing has remained consistent; and that’s Nifty’s inconsistency. Until something changes, I don’t feel comfortable calling Nifty the best AWP in NA - or even close. He needs to improve as a caller, or as an AWPer, or both, before he should be considered for a top team - until then, he remains a flashy, skilful player with real consistency issues.